Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Basketball regroups, takes down Eau Claire

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Gabe Sodoski
Maggie Trautsch (11) defends against Eau Claire’s Anna Koth (22).

After women’s basketball suffered their first loss of the season against UW-La Crosse on the road, the No. 4 ranked UW-Whitewater Warhawks blew out the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds 66-37 at home, Saturday, Jan. 27 to improve to 18-1 on the season and 7-1 in WIAC play.  

“I think it really shows the character of this team,” said head coach Keri Carollo. “They were able to take a tough loss on the road and be able to look each other in the eye and say, you know, ‘That one game doesn’t really define us,’ and make sure that we just learned from that game and learn from the different situations that we saw on film.” 

To see a win streak come to an end always stings, but sticking together and building off those tough losses is what builds a winner. While most college students go home for winter break, the desolate state of campus that is left behind for student athletes is challenging. 

“You want to make sure that they’re having fun out there because we’re here, you know, all winter break,” Carollo said. “We really have to make sure that the gym is a happy space and so we do that collectively as our coaching staff, making sure that practices are high energy and fun and then really buying into the system and the culture that we’re trying to create.” 

For the Warhawks, the isolation serves as an opportunity to build a special, winning atmosphere that Whitewater is known for. 

“This group really likes each other a lot, which is helpful,” Carollo said. “The chemistry is really good. So from a coach’s standpoint, it’s very helpful to have a group that really has bought into what we’re trying to do.” 

That chemistry helped Whitewater make their presence felt straight away by sticking to a half-court press all game long against Eau Claire–a strategy that led a Warhawk defense to force 30 turnovers and 22 steals against the Blugolds

“We wanted to press—not necessarily to turn them over, but just to speed up the game,” Carollo said. “We felt like if we could get them playing faster than they wanted to, that would definitely benefit us. The turnovers help, you know. It leads to easy opportunities and our girls do a really great job of finishing when they get those opportunities.” 

“That makes the offense a lot easier when we’re aggressive and we’re up,” junior guard Maggie Trautsch said. “(Turnovers) can lead to easy transition points, easy layups, so that’s what we tried to do and that’s what we did.” 

Trautsch kicked off the scoring barrage for Whitewater early in the first two minutes of the game by hitting back-to-back three-pointers to put the Warhawks out in front early, never relinquishing the lead. Ending the game with 10 points, Trautsch also made her contributions on the other end, finishing with 3 steals and playing a large part in Whitewater’s press scheme defense. 

“Really just on the defensive end and pressing,” Trautsch said. “Just being very over aggressive, just rotating, playing team defense, playing together. I think that’s what really set the tone early on in the game and that’s how we ended up winning by a lot.” 

Defense was not the only contributor to the win. After only scoring 4 points in their previous game against La Crosse, Whitewater’s bench stepped up for the Warhawks in the win, scoring 18 points against the Blugolds. 

“Huge—it’s always been that for us,” Carollo said. “…I always talk to our teams over the years about how important our bench is, because it really does have to be a balanced attack. I really wanted to make sure that we got a lot of people in and out and we kept them fresh, and their contribution was great.” 

The Warhawks take on No. 18 UW-Oshkosh at home, Wednesday, Jan. 31 in a pivotal WIAC matchup. The Titans, winners of eight of their last ten games, come into Kachel Gymnasium sitting in second place in the WIAC standings at 6-2 (15-4 overall) as they look to close the gap on Whitewater’s first place lead in the conference. The purple and white took down Oshkosh earlier in the season on the road, winning 79-71, and will look to extend their win streak to six-straight over the Titans. 

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About the Contributor
Gabe Sadoski, Assistant Women's Sports Editor

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